A Case Study of Preliminary Cost-Benefit Analysis of Building Levees to Mitigate the Joint Effects of Sea Level Rise and Storm Surge
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Sea-level rise (SLR) will magnify the impacts of storm surge; the resulting severe flooding and inundation can cause huge damage to coastal communities. Community leaders are considering implementing adaptation strategies, typically hard engineering projects, to protect coastal assets and resources. It is important to understand the costs and benefits of the proposed project before any decision is made. To mitigate the flooding impact of joint effects of storm surge and SLR, building levee segments is chosen to be a corresponding adaptation strategy to protect the real estate assets in the study area—the City of Miami, FL, USA. This paper uses the classic Cost-Benefit Analysis (CBA) to assess the cost efficiency and proposes corresponding improvements in the benefit estimation, by estimating the avoided damages of implementing levee projects. Results show that the city will benefit from implementing levee projects along the Miami River in both a one-time 10 year storm event with SLR and cumulative long-term damage scenarios. This study also suggests that conducting CBA is a critical process before making coastal adaptation planning investment. A more meaningful result of cost effectiveness is estimated by accounting for the appreciation and time value. In addition, a sensitivity analysis is conducted to verify how the choice of discount rate influences the result. Uncertain factors including the rate of SLR, storm intensification, land use changes, and real estate appreciation are further analyzed.
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